Gulfshore Business Daily: Feb. 25

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Lead Photo Credit: Charlotte County Habitat for Humanity, sourced from WINK News

 

COLLIER BOARD AUTHORIZES STAFF TO NEGOTIATE DEVELOPMENT AGREEMENT WITH GREAT WOLF RESORTS

Collier County commissioners this week unanimously agreed to authorize county staff to negotiate a development agreement with Great Wolf Resorts Inc. after they accepted a market and financial feasibility study with a cost-benefit analysis for the proposed local project from Hunden Strategic Partners Inc. The board would subsequently consider the incentive agreement and the company’s proposal for a 550-room Great Wolf Lodge resort with an indoor water park and conference center on 20 acres in the City Gate Commerce Park next to the new Paradise Coast Sports Complex, east of Collier Boulevard and north of Interstate 75’s Alligator Alley. The Chicago-based chain of nearly 20 family resorts is seeking $15 million to $20 million in county incentives to help with the initial construction fees and land purchase for the nearly $235 million development project but plans to fully pay back the county within three to five years.
 

Video courtesy of WINK News

COLLIER COUNTY COMMISSIONERS CHOOSE LOCATION FOR $25M MENTAL HEALTH CENTER

Collier County will expand its mental health services with a $25 million mental health facility, WINK News reports. On Tuesday, Collier County commissioners chose the site of the project. The center will go in an empty lot near the David Lawrence Center. Commissioners chose that spot instead of an area near the Naples Jail Center to avoid stigmatizing those seeking mental health services. It’s a game-changer, said Collier County Commissioner Andy Solis. “That will be a centralized place where whatever services the person requires will then be coordinated,” Solis said. The services at the new center will go beyond just crisis management, according to 20th Judicial Circuit Judge Janeice Martin, who oversaw the county’s mental health court for several years. “Crisis happens, but I’m excited about the increase (in) the capacity for prevention, for education, for maintenance of people once we can establish stability,” Martin said. “That’ll be really where the return on investment is the greatest.”
 

NEONATAL SIMULATION LAB COMPLETED AT CAPE CORAL HOSPITAL

Cape Coral Hospital is home to a new neonatal simulation lab located inside the birthing suites. The lab will be used for training medical professionals on how to prepare for neonatal emergencies. The Golisano NICU simulation team oversaw the setup of the lab, and the team consisted of NICU nurses and a neonatologist who dedicated time to the simulation of newborn situations, which leads to improved outcomes in the baby, Lee Health states. The lab features state-of-the-art equipment which provides feedback to the team during the resuscitation.
 

MATT DEVITT NAMED NEW CHIEF METEOROLOGIST OF WINK NEWS’ WEATHER AUTHORITY

Matt Devitt will be The Weather Authority’s new chief meteorologist, effective March 15. Devitt will assume his new role upon the retirement next month of the legendary Jim Farrell, who has had a 29-year career with WINK News. “Matt has performed admirably as the morning meteorologist since joining WINK News in 2016. He also has an impressive social media following (over 500,000 followers), ranking as one of the top local television personalities in the country,” says Tom Doerr, news director of WINK News. Devitt will move from mornings to the early evening and late newscasts on March 15. At this time, no decisions have been made as to who will anchor weather reports in the mornings. Expect meteorologists’ schedules to vary until there is a final line-up. Farrell’s last day on the air will be Friday, March 12.
 

WOMEN’S CENTER FOR ENTREPRENEURSHIP EMPOWERS BIPOC-OWNED BUSINESSES

The Women’s Center for Entrepreneurship is empowering minority and BIPOC-owned businesses during Black history month and throughout the year with webinars and programs focused on helping small businesses and solopreneurs succeed. According to a June report from the National Bureau of Economic Research, 41% of Black-owned businesses have closed during the COVID-19 crisis, largely due to a  lack of resources and access to capital. The recent funding update webinar outlined how to apply for grants and loans designated for minority and BIPOC-owned businesses, including the Greater Newark Enterprises Corporation (GNEC) DreamMaker loan, FISERV Back2Business grants, Comcast RISE program, and 1863 3Rs grant program.
 

FRENCH FAMILY TAKES OVER CAFÉ NORMANDIE IN NAPLES

After closed for about eight months last year because of the pandemic, Café Normandie partially reopened in November before new owners took over the longtime Naples restaurant in mid-December. Chef-owner Anthony Ethuin and his wife, Sandie, and father, Christian, have kept the same menu of French bistro favorites that has been popular for nearly 15 years but added new daily specials and house-made desserts. In addition to dining in, they also offer outdoor seating, catering and takeout with curbside pickup. The Ethuin family, which has a long history of service in upscale restaurants in France, relocated to Naples just before taking over the local restaurant, which is in the McKay Building, a small retail strip on the southeast corner of U.S. 41 North and Frank Whitman Boulevard in Naples. Café Normandie, 3756 Tamiami Trail N., is open from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. for lunch and 5 to 8:30 p.m. for dinner Monday through Saturday, and closed Sundays.
 

FIFTH THIRD NAMED ONE OF THE WORLD’S MOST ETHICAL COMPANIES

Ethisphere has included Fifth Third in its list of the World’s Most Ethical Companies for 2021. Fifth Third was included in the ranking for the first time, one of only three U.S. banks named to the list. Fifth Third has offered hardship relief programs through the pandemic; made a new, three-year, $2.8 billion commitment to accelerate racial equality; and surpassed the $32 billion Community Commitment it announced in 2016. The company also achieved carbon neutrality in 2020. Fifth Third’s environmental, social and governance (ESG) Report is available here.
 

CHARLOTTE COUNTY HABITAT FOR HUMANITY BUILDS 500TH HOME

Charlotte County Habitat for Humanity has raised its 500th home by partnering with TEAM Punta Gorda. They are closer to making sure those in need in Charlotte County can be homeowners too. Charlotte’s chapter, which was established in 1987, builds about 30 homes per year. TEAM and Habitat have partnered for many projects over the years, WINK News reports. To volunteer with Habitat for Humanity in Charlotte County, call 941-639-3162 or click here.
 

Amber Ashton

ASHTON JOINS MNMW AS HR MANAGER/CONSULTANT

Markham Norton Mosteller Wright & Co. P.A. (MNMW) welcomes Amber Ashton to the firm as the human resources (HR) manager/consultant. In her role, she will manage all human resource (HR) matters for MNMW and provide HR consulting to clients. Ashton graduated from The Ohio State University with a Bachelor of Arts in Psychology and is a certified Senior Professional in Human Resources (SHRM-SCP). Her HR experience includes 15 years of developing effective human resources teams, frameworks, and strategies. 
 

HENDERSON FRANKLIN WELCOMES RETURN OF HEALTHCARE LAWYER

Henderson, Franklin, Starnes & Holt P.A. announces the return of Thomas P. Clark as a stockholder. He served in the firm’s business and tax department from 1995 until 2012 before spending a little over eight years as in-house counsel for a company. Clark is board-certified by The Florida Bar in both health law and tax law. Clark’s practice is largely dedicated to personal service organizations, health care law, mergers and acquisitions, corporate law, partnership law, limited liability company law, taxation, and business planning. He is admitted to practice in all Florida state courts and the United States Tax Court. Clark received his Juris Doctor from Cumberland School of Law, his LL.M. in taxation from New York University, and his Bachelor of Science in Business Administration with honors from the University of Florida.
 

Stacy Lee-Williams

THE FOUNDERS SCHOLARSHIP FUND APPOINTS DIRECTOR

The Founders Scholarship Fund Board of Trustees has appointed Stacy Lee-Williams as its director. Williams has been working with the nonprofit organization since 2017 on a part-time basis as the fund administrator. She is the first full-time employee for the organization and the first Founders fund director. Williams is responsible for all aspects of the nonprofit organization’s business operations, donor relations, student scholarships and communications, and fundraisers. She attended Florida Southwestern State College, is a Certified Diversity Professional, and holds a Small Business Management Certificate for her studies. Prior to joining the Founders Fund Inc., Williams was the development and fundraising coordinator for the nonprofit Our Mother’s Home in Fort Myers, fundraising and events associate for the Muscular Dystrophy Association of Lee County, and marketing manager for The Lion’s Den of SWFL. She is active in the community.
 

Video courtesy of WINK News

PELICAN BAY RESIDENTS AWARDED ACCESS TO REGISTER FOR HUNDREDS OF VACCINES

As our senior population in Southwest Florida struggles through the online process to secure coronavirus vaccine appointment opportunities, shots are making their way into the arms of affluent and exclusive community members, WINK News reports. The most recent is a place where you don’t have to be over 65 to live. North Collier County Fire Control & Rescue District told WINK News it chose the Pelican Bay community of North Naples for access to COVID-19 vaccines because it has the largest amount of people over the age of 65 in the district. North Collier County Fire hopes vaccinating hundreds in this community will free up appointments for others living elsewhere in Collier County. North Collier Fire has partnered with the Florida Department of Health in Collier County for the rollout because it’s licensed to provide vaccines.
 

HOME BASE SWFL COMMEMORATES 30TH ANNIVERSARY OF OPERATION DESERT STORM

Home Base SWFL—a local nonprofit founded by the Red Sox Foundation and Massachusetts General Hospital dedicated to supporting veterans, service members and military families impacted by the invisible wounds of war—will commemorate the 30th Anniversary of Operation Desert Storm at an intimate, outdoor ceremony at 11 a.m. on Feb. 27 at Collier County Freedom Memorial at Freedom Park in Naples. Masks will be required at the COVID-19-conscience outdoor venue. The invitation-only ceremony will include an address by Home Base SWFL Honorary Director and Retired US Army Gen. Fred M. Franks, who famously led 100,000 troops in Operation Desert Storm, along with attendance from Desert Storm soldiers, community leaders, veteran advocates and Home Base SWFL supporters.
 

CHARITABLE NOTES

 

Gulfshore Playhouse raises more than $1.4 million at The Loverly Gala

The Loverly Gala raised more than $1.4 million for the Annual Fund for Artistic Excellence. Gulfshore Playhouse welcomed guests to an Edwardian-themed evening, transforming The Ritz-Carlton Beach Resort into London’s busy streets in a celebration featuring live entertainment, Broadway actors, and numerous giving opportunities. Chaired by philanthropists Susan Regenstein and Barry Frank, The Loverly Gala is one of only a handful of major fundraising events in Naples hosted live since the pandemic began last spring. The evening included health and safety protocols, including face coverings, temperature checks, primarily outdoor festivities, and reduced capacity during the indoor program. Philanthropists Patty and Jay Baker made a surprise announcement that all contributions made during the on-the-spot giving, “What Part Will You Play,” would be matched. Gulfshore Playhouse will continue its 2021 season next month with the opening of “Maytag Virgin,” on March 20.
 

Southwest Florida Community Foundation grants $644,974 to local nonprofits

The Southwest Florida Community Foundation has awarded $644,974 to regional organizations and programs committed to increasing the quality of life in sustainable and equitable ways for Southwest Floridians. In 2020, the Foundation Board of Trustees lifted grant restrictions to allow for operational funding and to create an additional year of funding to support their grantees during the pandemic. This move is aligned with the Foundation’s goals to create more general operating grants where possible, lift burdensome restrictions and reporting, develop deeper partnerships with multi-year cohorts and provide sustainable funding. Twenty-five local nonprofits were granted money from the community foundation’s available Field of Interest funds, as well as individual impact makers in our community. The organizations are included a community cohort that will build additional organizational strengthening and capacity.
 

Beach Clean-Up held on March 13 in Naples

STARability Foundation is joining the Young Professionals (YP) of Naples for a Beach Clean-Up event from 9-11 a.m. on March 13 at Lowdermilk Beach in Naples. Representatives and volunteers from the Blue Zones Project of Southwest Florida will also be attending. The public is invited to join STARability Foundation participants in an inclusive beach clean-up; people of all ages and abilities are encouraged to attend. This will be a great local volunteer opportunity for individuals, families and groups. At each YP of Naples event, free masks and hand sanitizer will be available to all members and guests. Both organizations encourage everyone to practice safe distancing and follow Florida Department of Health COVID-19 Community Events Guidelines. For questions or to volunteer or participate, email Madison at madison@starability.org or click here. Trash bags and gloves will be provided to all participants.

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